Variations in Surface-Layer Color, Texture, pH, and Phosphorus Content Across Prairie Dog Mounds
Spatial variations of soil surface color, texture, pH, and phosphorus content were studied so the effects of relict and modern prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) pedoturbation on soil surface properties will be more predictable in southwestern South Dakota. When first formed, prairie dog mounds are made of surface soil. In time, lower-layer materials are added to the surface. The overall textural variation usually increases with pedoturbation because the original surface layer has a different texture than the subsoil. The mound pH is usually greater than the adjacent soil because calcareous subsoil is deposited in the mound. With time, the mound pH decreases as carbonate leaches and the color becomes darker as organic matter accumulates. The color hue gradually changes to a 10YR if the subsoil was not originally a 10YR hue. Fecal and skeletal phosphorus are deposited in and on the mound to increase areal variation in phosphorus content as a mound continues to be used.
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